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What Are Mini Dental Implants?
When teeth are lost, mini dental implants are an option to give patients back their smiles. These implants are a more permanent solution compared to dentures, and in some cases, they can be installed within one visit. Originally designed to be a temporary fix, these implants are gaining popularity in the field of dental restoration.
Common questions about mini dental implants
Developed in the 1970s, mini dental implants originally served as an interim while standard dental implants fused to the jawbone. However, when doctors went to remove these temporary implants, they found that these implants anchored into the jawbone just as well as the standard implants. From there, these implants were considered another alternative for patients with tooth loss.
What is involved in placing implants inside the mouth?
After a consultation that may involve radiographs of the mouth, the doctor can approach implantation in two ways. The first technique requires at least two visits. During the first visit, a titanium implant is inserted into the empty tooth socket and a temporary crown is placed over the post. Over the course of a few months, the bone of the jaw and the adjacent gum tissue will grow around the metal post, securing it within the mouth. At the follow-up visit, the temporary crown is removed and replaced with a permanent crown. In the second technique, both the metal implant and permanent crown are placed during the same visit.
What are the benefits of mini dental implants?
Compared to the standard dental implants, mini dental implants are roughly 50% smaller in diameter. The smaller diameter allows patients with jawbone loss to benefit from implants. With standard implants, there would be a fear that inserting the titanium post could further damage an unhealthy jaw. However, the smaller post does not do as much damage to the surrounding bone when inserted securely.
The convenience of the patient is another benefit. Standard implants must be installed over at least two visits, but with mini dental implants, the dentist has the ability to place the post and the permanent crown in one visit. Since the process is less invasive, a local injection of anesthesia can be used, decreasing the risk to patients who may have sensitivities or health concerns that can make general anesthesia difficult. Overall, the smaller post, the fewer visits for implantation and the decreased need for general anesthesia can also make these dental implants a more cost-effective option for a patient.
How does a patient care for implants?
Care for mini dental implants is the same as caring for natural teeth. During the first few days after the implants are placed, the gum line in the area may be sensitive. A soft-bristled toothbrush can help during this time. Patients should brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.
Once only recognized as a temporary fix to the loss of teeth, mini dental implants are becoming a standard option. With their cost effectiveness and the possibility to install them in one visit, these implants can restore a patient’s smile without damaging their wallet in the process.
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